A previous news story, followed by a Council decision to drop the use of glyphosate has highlighted the plight of Councils who have rightly decided to ban the use of toxic glyphosate in their parks and reserves.
Increasing concern over the cancer dangers posed by glyphosate, (as outlined in an earlier Wholesale Landscapes’ article), has previously seen Christchurch Council severely restrict use of the herbicide by its grounds staff. Now it seems, this has lead to the consequent proliferation of weeds and has had a major impact on their budget.
We here at Wholesale Landscapes applaud the Christchurch City Council’s health-aware and risk-averse approach. We believe it's not a matter of if but when glyphosate is banned so taking a proactive approach isn't the easiest but perhaps a forward thinking strategic decision. Because of this, we dive deeper and take a look at the best weed-busting alternative to Roundup.
When it comes to weeds, prevention is better than cure. Hand-weeding is a labour-intensive and expensive exercise. Christchurch City Council found its road and footpath maintenance budgets ballooning to $2 million higher than forecast lately, primarily because of its reliance on this manual method of weed control. It has also been using steam weeding, another costly option.
A proactive and preventative approach to weed control is the best. Mulching provides a cost-effective, healthy and sustainable alternative for weed suppression.
Mulches, generally, are a great way to enhance the visual appeal of a garden or landscape, reduce maintenance and help increase nutrients for plants, improving fertility and the general health of the soil. Applying mulch can also help with conservation of soil moisture, reducing the need for watering. Most importantly, mulch acts supremely-well as a weed suppressant.
A great bark mulch will contain a range of cambium bark and stringy bark. This allows the particles to bind together to better retain moisture and better suppress weeds. Generally, bark will last up to 3-5 years, nourishing the soil with natural organic material over this time, all whilst preventing weed growth.
Since 2007, both Tasman District Council and Nelson City Council, through their contractor, Nelmac have used Wholesale Landscapes’ Forest Floor® Mulch. This product’s success as a weed-suppression agent is evident in the district, with the local parks and reserves resplendently speaking for themselves. It also shows that with some care and prevention efforts just how resilient plants and trees can become during droughts and other extreme weather patterns the top of the south Island has been subject to in recent years.
Wholesale Landscapes’ Forest Floor® is a commercial landscaping industries favourite time-saver, a super water-conserver and the best battler in the garden in the fight against weeds. Since 1999, Wholesale Landscapes have been producing and selling this highly-popular mulch, which is well-known accross the country.
Forest Floor® contains pine cambium fines, and flake, shredded to 100mm in length, which allows the mulch to bind together, creating a mat through which weeds cannot penetrate. As a result of the fines and flakes aging, gardens are fed with a constant supply of nutrients and the soil condition is enhanced through increased carbon content. This improves soil water and nutrient-holding capacity, microbial biomass activity and available nitrogen and phosphorous content, all improving plant health.
The cost of application of Forest Floor® is as little as $2.80/m2 and its weed suppression properties will last around 18 months. This beats the labour costs of hand-weeding, hands-down, and provides a safe alternative to dangerous chemical applications.
Increased lobbying by the public will soon see glyphosate use in public spaces banned across the country. The New Zealand Soil and Health Association has called for an immediate ban on its use and for increased government support for research into non-chemical alternatives. In 2018, a US court finding, (which ordered Monsanto, which makes Roundup, to pay $440 million damages to a Californian man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer), prompted Associate Environment Minister, Eugenie Sage, to ask the Environmental Protection Authority to consider putting glyphosate on its list of hazardous substances.
We believe the answers are already here and we can learn from best practices in other parts of the world such as Europe where glyphosate is banned. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, just be open to change.